Department of Justice
- A Marine veteran was sentenced to more than 5 years in prison on a Jan. 6 charge on Wednesday.
- Daniel Caldwell, 51, has been in pre-trial custody since he was arrested in Feb. 2021.
- Prosecutors say he was caught on camera assaulting police officers and later bragging about it.
A Marine veteran who was caught on camera assaulting a line of police officers with a chemical irritant on Jan. 6, and later bragged about the attack in a video interview was sentenced to more than five years in prison on Wednesday in one of the steepest sentences stemming from the insurrection thus far.
Daniel Caldwell, 51, of Texas, has spent nearly the last two years in pretrial custody after he was arrested on six counts related to the riot in February 2021. Caldwell pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting police officers with a deadly weapon in September 2022.
US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly sentenced Caldwell to 68 months in prison on Wednesday, as well as $2,000 in restitution for damage to the Capitol. Prosecutors had requested 70 months.
Prosecutors say a YouTube video posted on January 2021 shows Caldwell “spraying a mist” at police who were trying to defend the building from rioters. In a separate video, Caldwell discussed the assault, telling the person behind the camera that he “got like 15 of them,” referring to the officers.
—Jordan Fischer (@JordanOnRecord) August 13, 2021
In court on Wednesday, Caldwell offered a tearful apology while expressing remorse for his behavior on Jan. 6, according to Politico, asking the judge for mercy and describing the ways in which he has tried to better himself in the two years since the attack, including through reading self-help books while in custody.
Kollar-Kotelly, however, refused to yield, calling Caldwell an insurrectionist several times during the hearing, according to the outlet, and saying his use of the chemical irritant nearly broke the police line and left several officers with psychological and physical trauma.
“I must face my actions head-on,” Caldwell said in court on Wednesday, per Politico. “I hope that you and our country never have to face another day like January 6th.”
Robert L. Jenkins, an attorney for Caldwell, told Insider that he and his client understand the judge’s motivations in handing down such a steep sentence, but believe 68 months was “much higher than what it needed to be,” both in light of Caldwell’s individual conduct and other sentences that have been imposed in similar cases.
Caldwell will receive credit for the nearly two years he has already spent in custody.
“Being a Marine, I should have known better. … I wish I could take it back, but I can’t,” he reportedly said.
At least 978 people have been charged in connection with the attack thus far, and more than 470 people have pleaded guilty.